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MMORPG | Setting:Fantasy | Status:Final  (rel 04/04/14)  | Pub:Bethesda Softworks
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Columns: Console Sales Are Good - So What’s Next for All Players?

By Christina Gonzalez on July 22, 2015

Console Sales Are Good - So What’s Next for All Players?

Now that we’re over a month since The Elder Scrolls Online’s release on consoles, we have the next step: the announcement of the first major DLC update and how that will work, as well as hints at other features to come. It seemed like a good time to take a look at how ESO is faring on console, how PC is back on track, and what the Imperial City DLC may tell us about what we can expect from the game in the future.

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While PC players have had the game for over a year, the wait for DLC for console is significantly shorter. It’s no surprise that the game seems to be doing well on consoles, or that the studio wants to keep the console players entertained. While ZeniMax isn’t talking specific numbers, NPD’s charts for June show ESO at #2 in monthly sales of physical copies, behind Batman: Arkham Knight. VGChartz estimates that the game has sold around 800,000 on PS4 and 665,000 on Xbox One globally. For PC, the sales estimate since its initial launch last year is almost 700,000, so you can see, if these figures hold, that console is significant, as expected. The community and forums are also full of console players in recent weeks. Although it was easy to see that console would affect PC development and releases, it’s shaping up to be more positive than it could’ve been.

Last week, we got the full rundown on the upcoming Imperial City DLC, the first major content release in months. The content will be out on PC and Mac on August 31st, followed by both consoles two weeks later. Staggering DLC releases isn’t ‘fair’ since players across platforms don’t get it on the same day, but it would’ve been worse if ZeniMax had held PC players yoked to console players when updating a game on PC is handled internally and not subject to console approval review. This is a positive start. The ESO team has talked about getting PvE players into Cyrodiil to take part in its featured content, as well as utilize included features like Keeps and shops, but now the Imperial City will feature special items, like pets, only obtainable within. Given that PC players’ wait for any significant content and all of these PvP improvements has been long time coming, the earlier PC release and PTS testing is almost a minimal given here.

As far as pricing goes, 2500 crowns/ $20 is just a bit over the cost of a monthly subscription and whether or not it’s worth it to you will depend on how much of this content you plan to play through. We’ve been a bit skeptical about whether ESO+ was worth it in the interim before new major content, and this update does seem packed and significant enough to warrant your choice of a subscription or a few dollars more in crowns for a permanent unlock.

The team has already been working to lay the groundwork for a significant PvP update that many have requested for a long time that will be available to all. With Cyrodiil at the center of things once more, PvP fans have reason to feel less neglected with these changes and the upcoming DLC. While there are both PvE and PvP additions included in the Imperial City, it’s PvPers, by far, who will get the most out of it. Yet we can’t discount the new crafting items, new motif, and Tel Var Stones that will have effects that should trickle out into the general population. Some new items will be exclusive and others will be tradable, but even just seeing some players in new gear will likely motivate some to toss some cash at this DLC.

Now that Imperial City is on the radar, it’s not too early to look past it. With the first DLC expansion being PvP-centric, it seems that the more PvE and story-inclined will get more out of Orsinium, which was also teased at this year’s E3. It makes sense that a PvP-centric DLC will be first, three months after the console release, as many will likely be deep into Veteran Ranks by then. Retaining players when you’ve sold approximately 1.5 million console copies at the right time will be vital. So, fellow PC players, many promises are at the point of being fulfilled, though with the wait and turning these large updates into paid-for DLCs when they were promised long ago might sting a bit, but the implementation seems like it’s going to be handled well.

The PC players’ long wait for new content is coming to an end in about six weeks, and PTS should tide some folks over until then. Naturally, we have to wait and see just how much demand there is for the DLC content, as well as how many buy it outright versus pick up a subscription, but if anything, the unofficial console sales figures (which are just physical copies) are simply good for the game as a whole. If reception and population continue to be strong, then there’s more money in funding further development and the hope that we will see mention of some of the other promised content (Thieves Guild anyone?) relatively soon.

Christina Gonzalez / Christina is a freelancer and contributor to MMORPG.com, where she writes the community-focused Social Hub column.